An enchanting Thanksgiving drive

We had a lovely weekend at the lake to celebrate Thanksgiving. Here in Canada, we celebrate in October. We were treated to unusually warm and balmy, t-shirt weather. While my kids and husband puttered around the lakefront with their uncle, I joined their aunt for a local walking studio tour. Not that anyone could walk from location to location. A little too rural for that. Our drive was very scenic as the trees have changed from green to various shades of gold, orange, and red. We stopped at our first chosen group of artists: A potter, a stained glass artist, and a cast stone artist. We had made this stop last year and I was enamored with the latter artist’s cast stone mushrooms which I bought as gifts along with a cicada. This year I purchased 3 mushrooms and a set of little rectangle pieces with a butterfly, a bee, and a ladybug. I’ll have to take photos of these later.

Then we headed down the road some more. Had I known the territory we were about to enter, I’d have brought some Arlo Guthrie to listen to as we drove. Or maybe a little Country Joe and the Fish. I thought we were in rather conservative country folk territory. Not so. Not so. We had entered Hippieville. Who knew all this time I was just a couple of left turns away from some creative free thinkers? We visited a studio displaying the works of 4 artists (a clothes designer, a potter, a jewellery maker, and a printmaker. I enjoyed the clothing designer’s artistry the most but I have no desire to buy any clothing right at the moment. So we continued on to what turned out to be the artistic highlight of the trip.

We arrived at the studio of multi-media artist Carol Lee Riley. This woman should be uber-famous. She is soooooo talented I wanted to grab the art off her walls and run away with it. She transforms everyday objects into intricate designs. Most pieces are themed. She’ll do a piece that involves only pieces from the kitchen. Or materials related to sewing. My most favourite piece involved a rice bag and so many other little details that made up the piece. I wish I could give her art a better description. I’m in love and I want the art world to know about her. Incredible. Truly. She has a piece with bread tags in it. It might just inspire me to finish my mini kit involving bread tags… we’ll see…. Her studio was so big and airy with a huge front porch. She had a whimsical garden of metal. Pots of painted metal resembling flowers. A garden of utensils. Everywhere you turned, there was something new to see. It was at this point in the trip that I began to think there were other artists living in this neck of the woods… perhaps a community even.

Next stop… the enchanted forest. Well, there you go… my suspicions confirmed. This place was something out of a TV documentary. I think the Barbapapa family may have built this house. I believe it was run on electricity produced by the windmill atop the hill next to their circular yurt-like home. Their tangled garden of plants, mosaic tiles, hidden buddhas, and ornaments was an overload for my senses. Ok, not fair… I already had a migraine impairing my vision. Again I cannot do justice to explaining the construction of their various buildings. I had a friend once in Japan. His name was Daichi. All I could think was how much Daichi would love this place. This of course doesn’t help explain the place unless you know Daichi. I can’t help you there. Anyway… this place was host to four artists. A fibre artist and photographer who I believe were the inhabitants/builders of the place, a potter and a wood sculptor. The potter was quite talented but I liked the wood sculptures the most. He would take coloured pieces of thin lightweight wood (balsa or something… I’m not a wood expert) and adhere them together and then mould/sculpt them into shapes. Most of the pieces were colourful schools of fish adhered to a piece of coloured wood. Again my description is lacking. Trust me, they were beautiful. I really wanted one but the price tag was not speaking to me. We left the enchanted forest (which was its actual name) and headed to the village of Westport.

We stopped for a quick and late lunch. Then stopped at our final spot on the tour map. It was a beautifully located B&B. If you’re ever in Westport looking for a B&B this place looks like quite the find. I’m not one to feel easily at home and I wanted to stay here. Definitely a good sign. The historic stone building has a lake out its back door and another one out its front door. They serve a yummy sounding (and presumably yummy tasting) menu, have beautiful rooms and decor, a wonderful sunroom I want to have transported to my home, and an inground pool. That’s all I saw in my brief visit but I’m sure it is even more impressive than that. The owner also quilts fibre art and throws. I wanted one of the throws…. I tried not to drool on the fabric.

Then we headed home for our Thanksgiving meal which we had smartly prepared in our homes the day before: A turkey for the meat eaters; a Tofurky for the veggies; oodles of potatoes and veggies; and a pumpkin pie to finish off the meal.  Then off into the nearby foliage we went in search of mystical night creatures. I’m not kidding. Funny how the creatures we found looked remarkably like the stuffed dolls kept at the cottage. My 3 year old caught on but we had fun anyway.

I am indeed feeling very thankful.

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